MAWS Network - NCOF - The National Centre for Ocean Forecasting

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The Marine Automatic Weather Station NetworkGreenwich Lightship

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Overview

The Met Office Marine Automatic Weather Stations (MAWS) was developed as part of an early warning system for severe weather and sea conditions.

The network includes nine moored wave and weather observing buoys, seven of which are in open-ocean locations mostly to the west of the British Isles, and two in coastal inshore waters. Two of the open-ocean buoys are operated jointly with Meteo-France in the Bay of Biscay. Together with a further seven systems located on lightships and islands, these automatic observing systems make up the MAWS network.

Data from the MAWS network are used in numerical weather prediction (NWP), to monitor developing weather conditions, to provide information on the climatology of oceanic and coastal areas, and to provide ground truth for satellite observations.

The moored buoys also contribute to a European network of drifting and moored buoys co-ordinated through the Surface Marine programme (E-SURFMAR) of the EUMETNET Composite Observing System (EUCOS).  The E-SURFMAR Data Buoy Technical Advisory Group (DB-TAG) also acts as the regional action group for the North Atlantic under the joint WMO-IOC Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP). The Met Office also collaborates with the Irish Marine Institute on the operation of the Irish Data Buoy Network, and MAWS wave data is also supplied to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) WaveNet system.

Measurement Parameters

ODAS Buoy 23Each automatic system measures air pressure, air and sea temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and (with the exception of island systems) wave height and period. Lightship systems additionally measure visibility.

All stations transmit their observations hourly - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Together with CEFAS a prototype Deep Ocean Monitoring System (DOMS) was developed to explore the practicality of using moored buoys to make physical, chemical and biological oceanographic measurements as well as the standard meteorological measurements.

MAWS Data Availability

Recent data from the buoys can be accessed through a number of sources including:

Historical data from the MAWS network are available from the Met Office. Contact marine@metoffice.gov.uk for details.

(Last Updated: 15-04-2010)